Pandemic Impacts: a prediction market with educational intent

The Contest

Educational intent: In light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, many college and university courses have moved online, creating challenges for professors to develop active learning exercises on the fly. In partnership with professor Scott E. Page at the University of Michigan, we have developed a collection of eight prediction markets that will open on Tuesday, March 17 and close on April 15. Participation is FREE and participants—and entire classes—can join at any time up until the market closes. Prediction markets offer a platform for students to learn about price formation, bidding strategies, market efficiency, collective intelligence and the wisdom of crowds. As the contest unfolds, this site will be populated with ideas and tools for how to use the contest in the classroom.

Participation is FREE: No purchase is necessary. Participants can join the markets individually or as part of a class or group. Here are instructions for class instructors to create a code word (a class identifier that will allow you to see your students’ performances). The members of each group will be ranked by their performance against their peers in the classroom as well as against the entire population of contestants.

Trading in the market: Each individual will be staked with 100,000 H (aka Hypermind dollars) that can be invested in prediction assets across eight questions. For example, one question is: “What will the value of the DJIA be at the closing bell on April 15?” One possible prediction is “less than 19,000”. If that is the case, then those people who invested in that prediction will earn 100H per share. Over the month-long contest, prediction prices will move as participants buy and sell in response to price changes and new information.

Prizes: All participants who are able to turn a profit will share a total prize of US$500 pro-rata of their relative performance. The prizes will be delivered through Hypermind as Amazon gift certificates. In addition, the top ten finishers who are U.S. residents will each receive a copy of Scott E. Page’s The Model Thinker.

The 8 questions to trade predictions in

The contest consists of eight separate questions to trade predictions in. Each question features a number of possible predictions, only one of which will be true when the contest closes on April 15 at midnight Pacific time. The questions were chosen to be of general interest, have abundant relevant data, and to cover a range of topics related to the impact of the pandemic. You need not invezst in all questions to win, but your performance and rank will depend on both the profit you generated (the more the better), and how many questions you invested in (the more the better). Full details of the performance computation are available on the Hypermind market site.

Question 1: The value of the DJIA on the close of business on April 15.

Question 2: Will the Olympics be attracting more web interest than Taylor Swift for the week of April 15?

Question 3: The number of days in the period beginning on March 17 and ending on April 15 on which Heathrow Airport registers a temperature at or above 20 degrees celcius.

Question 4: Movie box office revenue in the United States for the week of April 9-15.

Question 5: Average Happiness on Twitter on April 15th.

Question 6: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US as of April 15th.

Question 7: The number of followers of the Center for Disease Control on Twitter on April 15th.

Question 8: Air Pollution Index (PM2.5) for Los Angeles on April 15th.

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